Now that Halloween is over, the most wonderful time of year is approaching and if you’re anything like me you’re already thinking about Christmas gifts. Supporting local means SO much to Ottawa businesses and I want to give a shoutout to support them. Together-apart has already put together this extensive list of black-owned businesses in Ottawa to support. My friend Casey has also worked on this list of people she knows personally that you can support.
Another great reason to support local: my office recently received a notice from Canada Post that packages may take up to 6 weeks to be delivered. Supporting local means avoiding shipping costs and wait times! Many businesses have been offering contactless deliveries for a while which makes things much easier in these times!
The gifts I’ve loved giving and receiving the most are thoughtful gifts that I know were purchased with that specific person in mind. If you’re trying to find the perfect gift for your friend, family or loved one, try to think about their interests. For example, I bought a kombucha dispenser for my friend to make it at home and for another friend I got her a subscription box of cards to be delivered to her for a few months in a row from a local card maker.
There are extensive lists floating around the internet for shopping guides, Christmas gift guides, and everything in between. I’ve worked on rounding up a few local stores in Ottawa based on various interests and to offer some unique gift ideas. Even better, I’ve also included some links to Ottawa blogs who have put in a ton of work to showcase local businesses. Scroll to the very bottom if you’re a last minute shopper and need a quick gift! In addition, I have an entire post here dedicated to date ideas in Ottawa and here for activities to do with your BFF, if you’re looking for additional inspiration.
None of the links in this post are affiliate and are all just to provide you with some information to help you shop this holiday season. Click away!
One thing to consider this Christmas season is to Go Green. Although many people re-use last year’s wrapping paper, many wrapping papers and gift bags contain non-recyclable elements like foil, glitter or plastic. Consider using brown paper, reusable gift bags or recyclable gift wrap to wrap your presents this year. I loved brown paper bags I purchased from Papery in the Glebe last year and I reuse tissue paper from previous gifts.
Consider buying candles from a local candle maker, a diffuser and/or essential oils. If they’re crafty, why not purchase a candle making kit with essential oils for them to make themselves? Some local candle companies include:
Consider buying a new house plant, plant pots, plant accessories (like a mister or macrame holder) or a plant stand for your loved one! Succulents and peace lilies are super easy to care for plants. Not all plants are safe for your kitties and puppies so do a quick online check if you don’t know (however, my childhood dog once ate an entire 5 ft cactus and lived a full life after so who knows). Bouquets are great but have a limited life span so purchasing a plant is a great alternative! Here are some Ottawa based florists/plant shops:
1. Plant and Curio has a wonderful Instagram feed and even better selection of plants for all your needs. 2. Check out Scrim’s Florist on Elgin for a variety of plants, pots and garden paraphernalia. 3. I received a “plant garden” from Alta Vista flowers and it’s so beautiful! 4. Rosalind’s Garden Blooms are grown right here in Ottawa. 5. Luxe Blooms is another black-owned business and their rose boxes are gorgeous. 6. ForgetBKnot sells handmade macrame and fibre art to hold your plants.
For the One who Needs Self Care
Consider buying an array of spa items such as lotions, bath bombs, mani/pedi kit, eucalyptus leaves for a hot shower, etc. Here are some Ottawa stores that offer an amazing selection of scented, vegan, unscented and natural skincare products.
1. The Purple Urchin in the Glebe is a natural soap/skincare/bath store. They also have a great refill program (#GoGreen) 2. Terra20 has three locations in Ottawa. They also have vegan products and a refill station. 3. Lotus Flower Om also has a home spa kit! 4. twenty20 Skincare has 100% natural skincare products made with handcrafted Shea Butter from Ghana. 5. A gift card for nails or lashes from Vanism. 6. Support another black owned business by purchasing natural, organic makeup and skincare products from Afiya Beauty.
For the New Home Owner
The possibilities are endless! Try something for the kitchen, living room, bedroom, or a new painting or print from a local artist. Some of my favourite purchases/gifts when I first bought my condo were funny tea towels, a honey bear pot, beautiful serving platters, a small wine rack, cocktail glasses, a key holder (by my front door so I never forget my keys), these reusable “paper towels”.
1. Try Framed! on Bank Street for a fun collection of home gifts and custom framing options. Sloane Tea is the BEST tea, is Canadian and and sold at Framed!. 2. Boogie + Birdie on Elgin Street has an assortment of gift ideas for the new home owner. 3. Machab Design is a black-owned business with decorative accessories for a home. 4. A friend from high school knits throw blankets and you can custom order them through Facebook or Instagram. 5. Pot and Pantry and Chef’s Paradise are Ottawa’s go-to kitchen and houseware supply stores.
For the Foodie
Gift cards to local restaurants are a great way to support a business today and maybe introduce your friend/family/loved one to a new place in the city. There is an overwhelming number of choices in the city so here are some fun ones in Ottawa:
Beer: Breweries have to pay a premium, or produce a certain volume of beer to sell in the LCBO or Beer Store. Cut the middle man and pay the brewery directly by going in store. Plus, you’ll be able to talk to the owners and ask questions about likes/dislikes to pick the perfect beer for your giftee.
Wine: Wineries also have to pay a premium, or produce a certain volume of wine to sell in the LCBO. I don’t think I’ve met a single vineyard owner who wasn’t passionate about their wine and they’ll have great recommendations for your loved one’s palette. There are only a few wineries around Ottawa, but you can purchase from a Canadian winery directly, if they offer Canada wide shipping.
Earrings, rings, bracelets, necklaces, oh my! Some small jewellery businesses in Ottawa include: 1. Magpie Jewelry. 2. Strut Jewelry (minimalist & modern jewelry handmade in Ottawa) 3. Birch Jewellery (handmade accessories designed and made in Ottawa)
For the Crafter
Beaded Dreams in Ottawa. (Their mission is to support indigenous artists and to keep this beautiful culture alive.) The Papery also has a plethora of crafting supplies. Fabrications for fabric, knitting/crochet supplies, sewing needs etc. They also have “Learn to Sew” blog posts. Book a watercolour paint night with Art for Affect/Watercolour613 to create your own art!
For the Health and Fitness Guru
Purchase online/virtual classes, gift cards for memberships or contact a local personal trainer. Finding fun gifts like water bottles, a yoga mat, or home gym equipment for under the tree are great gifts that will last ages!
1 . Online personal training (Brendan Wood is offering online training plans and was my personal trainer). 2. Yoga equipment from Pure Yoga. I use my yoga blocks and yoga tune up balls ALL the time. 3. Check out Keenan Emily Fit for Zoom Bootcamp. 4. Barre Belle (in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary) is offering online classes for $25/month (you can get a steal for a yearly pass on Black Friday).
For the Eco-Friendly shopper
I’m loving the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and eliminating single use plastics or one use items that end up in landfills. Here are some amazing products from local stores:
There are an unbelievable amount of local adventure activities to do in Ottawa. Some fun ideas to plan/book a date night/grab a gift certificate for a future experience include: 1. Runaway Picnic (a luxury picnic service and they do all the set-up and provide the food!) 2. Snowshoe under the stars in Gatineau Park (you can bring your own snowshoes or rent them at the visitors centre) 3. Buy an Adventure Challenge book for solo adventures, couples, families or friends! Filled with a ton of individual date nights/adventures to be had in your own city. 4. Grab a Girl Gone Good hiking guide for hikes around Ottawa. 5. Book a dog sledding adventure at Escapade Huskimo! 6. Walk with Llamas at Serendipity Farm and Sanctuary. Llama walks can be booked year round but are impacted by weather so be compassionate if you have to reschedule!
For the the Last Minute Shopper
Some other last minute shopping ideas: 1. Check out Workshop Boutique in the Byward Market for awesome homemade items from local people. They have walk-in hours and you can also book a time to have the store to yourself (free of charge). 2. Cheerfully Made in Almonte is your one stop shop for homemade goodies. Pick up a few things to create your own holiday gift basket or fill a stocking. 3. Hummingbird Chocolate who makes their chocolate bars with cacao directly from farmers so you can feel good about what you’re eating. 4. Create a “Year of Date Ideas” in Ottawa with my post here or a stay at home date idea here. 5. Book a mini portrait session with Danielle Murphy Studios. A friend of mine from high school who takes amazing family and couple portraits. 6. Give a gift certificate for dance lessons from Arthur Murphy Dance Studio (we got this as a gift last year) or 3sixty Dance and Fitness studio. 7. Have an event coming up? Book your significant other with a surprise make-up session with Paige Wood. 8. Purchase this beard elixir for the beard grower in your life.